I am here posting a long interview — the result of a summer’s worth of back-and-forth emails between myself and my very sharp interlocutor, Marilou Polymeropoulou. Marilou is a doctoral student in ethnomusicology at Oxford and working on chip music, along with its associated hip subculture (“chipsters”). Polymeropoulou took on the job of reading my book, Dig: Sound and Music in Hip Culture and asking me questions about it, partly because she was interested in relating what I wrote about hipness to the particular tribe of hipsters she’s observing. So a lot of the discussion dealt with issues of what constitutes a “scene,” what role students play in it, who gets to be called a “hipster,” and whether I myself am particularly hip. This was a question to which I applied the Austin Osman Spare’s mystical dialectics, his “neither-neither,” as a way of squirming out of the binary logic that dictates that you are either hip or non-hip. How about neither? In the realm of culture, the law of the excluded middle has no sway, because there are never exact antitheses: everything bends into everything else.
The interview ended up being very wide-ranging. And take a look at the timeline of hip culture that Marilou created by tagging the major items I discuss in my book. I am awfully lucky to have had an opportunity to hold forth on certain ideas and situations behind my book, as well as on the book itself: all thanks to IASPM (International Association of Studies in Popular Music) for putting this together.
A couple of other book-flogging links: Blake Maddux was written a review of Dig for DigBoston (wonderfully appropriate name): check it out.
Also, Marylou wrote a post on my book earlier in the summer: check it out.
Also, the Book Corner — my favorite bookstore of all time, our little independent Utopia of books and book culture, is selling a signed copy of my book. Groovy.